Titanium, eh? Interesting. There’s not so much of the tough stuff out there anymore but the guys at Spin think it’s still the best frame material there is. We had a look at the new Spin range a few weeks back, now we've got one to play with the Spitfire MkIII.
We get spoilt around here with good-looking bikes. We’ve always got a few gorgeous machines in the road.cc office. But even in our world, the Spitfire Mk III Supermarine is a stunner. It manages to look classic but with enough attention to detail and individuality to mark it out from the crowd. It’s all in the little touches. Manufacturers can try too hard and go over the top when making their bikes and parts stand out. We reckon Spin have stayed on the right side of the line with their design features.
The frame is built from 3Al 2.5V titanium – cold forged and double butted. Why Ti? Well, it’s a very strong material, it builds into lightweight frames, and it won’t break down or corrode. Plus, there are plenty of titanium fans who love the way it rides – we’ll cover that once we’ve actually hit the roads on this bad boy.
Oh, and titanium looks cool too. With a brushed finish like this, you can buff out any scratches in seconds. The guys from Spin sent us a little pad for the job, just in case we altered the saddle height and there were any little imperfections on the titanium seat post. With titanium the looks really can last years.
Spin call the down tube ‘Super Massive Black Hole custom drawn, oversized bi-axial oval’. They’ve got a way with words and a name for everything. Basically, it’s ovalised, the oval standing up on its end at the head tube junction and lying flat on its side down by the bottom bracket, which is how to maximize the contact area for the welds.
The top tube – the ‘Spin Delta oversized tri-axial diamorphic top tube’ – has a shield-shaped profile at the front, becoming more rounded as it slopes gently down towards the seat tube junction. And the triple butted head tube is CNC machined both inside and out.
It’s the details that make the difference. The bosses for the water bottle cages, for example, are welded in place and so are the cable stops. If you’ve ever had a pop rivet fail, you know what a pain it can be. That isn’t going to happen here. The head tube and the machined brake bridge have Spin logos engraved into them, and the 6Al 4V Ti dropouts look neat. You get a little chain hanger on the inside of the right chainstay too – Spin call it a pip – to sling the chain on when you’ve got the rear wheel out. These little things just elevate the overall quality.
The frameset (£2,350) includes a fork and headset and also the seatpost, stem and bars too. The fork is Spin’s Fork in Hell – yes, very good – which has a carbon steerer and dropouts as well carbon blades, and the titanium headset is of the 1 1/8in external variety. Like the spacers, the bottle cage bolts and the seat clamp (although not the seat clamp on our review bike), it comes in ‘purple haze’, which is a variable colour finish, and very attractive it is too.
The seatpost slots straight into the frame – there’s no alloy sleeve in there – and that’s titanium as well. We’re not too sure why it needs to be 400mm long, mind. Guess it’s good insurance against growth spurts. You can choose the length of the stem and the width of the carbon anatomic bars.
That little lot will set you back £2,350. Our Spitfire Mk III is fitted with a SRAM Red groupset with a Rotor Agilis/Q-Rings chainset, Spin’s own 50T carbon aero tubular wheels and a Fizik Arione saddle. In that build it weighs 7.12kg (15.7lb, size XL) and costs £4,827 – although you could save money by going for Rival or Force and cheaper wheels. You could get one on the road for just over £3,600.
Okay, that’s your lot for now. We’ll give you the rest of the details once we’ve taken the Spin for a spin.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.